Being sucked into a vortex, Shun got out of the disruption to a wetland in the realm. Standing up on a stagnant water, he saw nothing but a vast, moist swamp. It was completely a no man’s land.
Shun: “Although it’s subtle, I can still sense the Cosmo of Seiya and the others from here.”
Shun: “Looks like that vortex has brought us to a different world. Hopefully they’re not injured...I must find everyone quickly.”
Shun tried to call their names, but no response was received. Wading through the swamp with tall water plants, he could barely see anything ahead. As everywhere looked alike here, soon he got lost in this place.
Shun closed his eyes to feel the surround.
Shun: I can’t tell where is the direction of the entrance, but I can feel the mighty Cosmo of Athena...Follow it and I should be able to find her.
Before he set out, the chain on his hand suddenly moved. Aware of this bizarre movement, he looked back and saw a kid in a cloak standing there. Although Shun could not see his face clearly, the kid seemed familiar to Shun.
Shun: You’re...Have we met before?
All of a sudden, a large amount of bubbles popped up at the surface, and until then Shun realized the chain was guarding against something else but not this kid!
Shun: Watch out!
A ferocious, four-legged beast jumped out of the swamp and pounced on the kid in a flash; in the nick of time, Shun managed to save him.
The monster bit Shun’s shoulder to bleed nastily. He shook off the enemy to the water with rolling defense, but the smell of blood had drawn a swarm of beasts coming up.
Shun: Don’t worry. I’ll protect you.
The kid was scared to crotching on the ground. Shun, comforting the kid by touching his head, stepped up bravely to face the beasts. With Shun being the center of the circle, the chain was turned into a large-area vortex. Despite the countless incoming enemies, they were all swept away in a second after touching the chain.
Shun: Nebula Chain!
Shun: Give up. You can never pass through the nebula.
The odd-looking beasts did not retreat at all. Instead they stood out of the attack range, staring at Shun and the kid. Both of them were encircled with a dense crowd. Each was drooling at the mouth.
Shun: They can’t hurt us with the protection of the chain, but this fight is just a waste of time if they continue to stay. We can’t keep on like this…
Shun: Kid, listen. When I step away, you run and hide in a safe place, okay?
The kid nodded. Shun kept on guarding the child with his chain. On the other hand, he ran out of the defense range as a bait, which successfully caught the attention of those beasts and tailed Shun instantly.
Shun: Alright, then he’ll be safe.
With the protection of nebula, the beasts, gritting their sharp teeth, were poised for attacks.
Shun: Why...why don’t you leave...You’re forcing me to get involved in this meaningless slaughter!
The beasts started pouncing on him again even when they saw Shun is whipping the chain. These starving monsters were fearless to endure his attacks, until they were put down by the loss of blood.
Shun: If you insist, then at least let me alleviate your pain.
Shun: Nebula Chain!
A powerful Cosmo rippled in his heart. As the energy gathered on the chain, countless whips streaked across the air with lightning speed. In an instant, all monsters were slashed and pierced, dying the water red as bloodbath.
The killing scene kept rewinding in Shun’s mind over and over again. As a Saint, protecting others was his mission. Right now all this bloodshed added heavy weight into his heart.
Shun: Even if they’re my enemies, I still don’t want to hurt them. But…
At this moment, the chain was sending some movements. Shun felt worried when he thought of the kid’s safety.
Guided by the chain, he ran fast towards the kid, but all he saw was a man trespassing the nebula defense. The chain failed to wind around the enemy who was choking the kid off the ground. The kid struggled painfully.
Shun: How is it possible! The chain defense is not working!
Shun: Let go of the kid now!
Shun, sprinting towards the enemy with his chains, attacked from both sides. It forced the man to let go of his hand and parried Shun’s strike instantly. Speechless from shock, until then he finally saw the true identity of the enemy.
Shun: It can’t be you!
That person ignored Shun’s offence and prepared to give punches again; Meanwhile, the chains twisted together and form a shield covering the kid. Intense metal clashes sounded when the enemy punched hit it hard, creating a strong shockwave blowing all the duckweeds away. Unable to hold his emotions, Shun shouted at the person.
Ikki’s punches were as heavy as lead; every attack had created a deafening noise as it hammered the surface of the shield. However, the chain could not absorb all the fierce impact; Shun, witnessing this imminent danger, covered the kid with his body as a buffer, and bore all the damage dealt by the force of impact.
Shun: Brother, stop! I know you’ll not hurt any child!
The friction between the chains and fists constituted sharp noises in the air. Cracks began to spread over the shield. Facing Ikki who kept pushing on and on, Shun could not bear to hurt his own brother with the chains.
He recalled the time when Ikki had protected him by volunteering for the Death Queen Island. He shone like a glamorous constellation in the sky; and this heroic figure was a paradigm Shun had been chasing after in his life. It was what made Shun strong as a Saint.
The shield was eventually broken by the fierce attacks alongside the crack of the chains. At this moment, Shun’s Cosmo was getting stronger.
Shun: Brother, I remembered. I remembered why I wanted to be a Saint.
Shun: Because I want to be like you, protecting anyone important to me. So I became a Saint no matter what obstacles were ahead of me!
Shun: But you’re not the brother I’ve been admiring!
Despite rounds of intense battle, Shun could not sense Ikki’s Cosmo. Then he was aware that the man standing in front of him was not Ikki at all. With the burst of strong Cosmo in his heart, the shards of the chains on the ground started vibrating because of the resonance. Shun stepped forward bravely and gazed at Ikki.
Shun called upon his inner Cosmo; the energy accelerated the air flow to form powerful turbulence against the phantom Ikki, who was unable to move an inch for the time being.
Shun: Disappear, you fake illusion!
Shun released even stronger power, blasting the phantom away to the sky like a raging hurricane. As mixed feelings were surging in his heart, someone pulled his hand.
Kid: Thank you.
Shun: You’re welcome. Stay safe and stay away from here, you hear me?
After bidding farewell, the kid lifted his cloak up to show his face. To Shun’s surprise, it was the young Ikki, but soon he vanished into thin air.
Although Shun knew that everything was just an illusion, he was invigorated to step forward, to where Athena’s Cosmo resided.